(*My cut-and-paste left off the numbers~ go to that website to see it numbered properly and for the second half of the article & references I had to cut out due to length.)
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding
According to the AAP, "Human milk is species-specific, and all substitute feeding preparations differ markedly from it, making human milk uniquely superior for infant feeding. Exclusive breastfeeding is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short- and long-term outcomes. In addition, human milk-fed premature infants receive significant benefits with respect to host protection and improved developmental outcomes compared with formula-fed premature infants… Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection. Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child."
The American Dietetic Association promotes breastfeeding
The ADA also believes that "the bonding that occurs during breastfeeding makes it a special choice." The ADA actively promotes breastfeeding, stating that "It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that broad-based efforts are needed to break the barriers to breastfeeding initiation and duration. Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and breastfeeding with complementary foods for at least 12 months is the ideal feeding pattern for infants. Increases in initiation and duration are needed to realize the health, nutritional, immunological, psychological, economical, and environmental benefits of breastfeeding."
Breast milk is more digestible than formula
"In recent years nutritionists have voiced concern about overly high levels of protein in the American diet. Since cow's milk contains about twice as much protein as human milk, formula-fed babies usually receive more protein than they need (much of it in the form of the less digestible casein). The stools of formula-fed babies are so bulky because the babies cannot absorb so much protein, and excrete the excess in their stool, whereas breast-fed babies absorb virtually 100% of the protein in human milk."
Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of breast cancer
Many studies have shown that women who breastfeed have lower risks of developing breast cancer. Recently, data from 47 studies in 30 countries was re-examined. The study group concluded that the incidence of breast cancer in developed countries could be reduced by more than half if women had the number of births and lifetime duration of breastfeeding that have been common in developing countries until recently. According to the analysis, breastfeeding could account for almost two-thirds of this estimated reduction in breast cancer incidence.
Baby's suckling helps shrink mother's uterus after childbirth
The uterus of the non-breastfeeding mother will never shrink back to its pre-pregnant size. It will always remain slightly enlarged.
"Nursing will help you to regain your figure more quickly, since the process of lactation causes the uterus (which has increased during pregnancy to about 20 times its normal size) to shrink more quickly to its pre-pregnancy size. "
Formula feeding increases baby girls' risk of developing breast cancer in later life
Women who were formula-fed as infants have higher rates of breast cancer as adults. For both premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer, women who were breastfed as children, even if only for a short time, had a 25% lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who were bottle-fed as infants.
Formula Feeding is associated with lower I.Q.
Human breast milk enhances brain development and improves cognitive development in ways that formula cannot. One study has found that the average I.Q. of 7 and 8 year old children who had been breastfed as babies was 10 points higher than their bottle fed peers. All of the children involved had been born prematurely and tube fed the human milk, indicating that the milk itself, not the act of breastfeeding, caused this difference in I.Q. level. Another study to support this statement was done in New Zealand. Here an 18 year longitudinal study of over 1,000 children found that those who were breastfed as infants had both higher intelligence and greater academic achievement than children who were infant-formula fed.
Breast milk is always ready and comes in a nicer package than formula does
Need we say more?
Breast milk helps pass meconium
Babies are born with a sticky tar-like substance called meconium in their intestines. Colostrum, or early milk, is uniquely designed to help move this substance through the infant's body.
Breast milk contains immunities to diseases and aids in the development of baby's immune system.
Formula provides neither of these benefits. "Breastfed babies have fewer illnesses because human milk transfers to the infant a mother's antibodies to disease. About 80% of the cells in breast milk are macrophages, cells that kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Breastfed babies are protected in varying degrees from a number of illnesses including, pneumonia, botulism, bronchitis, staphylococcal infections, influenza, ear infections, and German measles. Furthermore, mothers produce antibodies to what ever disease is present in their environment, making their milk custom-designed to fight diseases their babies are exposed to as well."
Breastfeeding satisfies baby's emotional needs and increases bonding between mother and baby
All babies need to be held. There is no more comforting feeling for an infant of any age than being held close and cuddled while breastfeeding. In fact, studies have shown that premature babies are more likely to die if they are not held or stroked. Breastfeeding stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin in the mother's body. "It is now well established that oxytocin, as well as stimulating uterine contractions and milk ejection, promotes the development of maternal behavior and also bonding between mother and offspring."
Uvnas-Moberg, Eriksson: "Breastfeeding: physiological, endocrine and behavioral adaptations caused by oxytocin and local neurogenic activity in the nipple and mammary gland." Acta Paediatrica, 1996 May, 85(5):525-30
Breast milk provides perfect infant nutrition
"Human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding and is species-specific; all substitute feeding options differ markedly from it. The breastfed infant is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short and long-term benefits."
Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of developing ovarian cancer
Based on the research, breastfeeding for a total of 12 to 24 months can reduce your risk of ovarian cancer by about one-third.
Nursing helps mom lose weight after baby is born
Breastfeeding requires an average of 500 extra calories per day and breastfeeding mothers who eat a normal diet lose the extra weight they gained during pregnancy faster than moms who choose to bottle feed. In one study, mothers who breastfed exclusively or partially had significantly larger reductions in hip circumference and were less above their pre-pregnancy weights at 1 month postpartum than mothers who fed formula exclusively.
Other studies have also shown that women who were overweight when they began their pregnancies can safely get closer to their ideal weight by breastfeeding in conjunction with a moderate exercise program.
Pre-term milk is specially designed for premature infants
"Milk produced by women who deliver prematurely differs from that produced after a full-term pregnancy. Specifically, during the first month after parturition, pre-term milk maintains a composition similar to that of colostrum.."
The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend it
"Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. There after, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding from birth is possible except for a few medical conditions, and unrestricted exclusive breastfeeding results in ample milk production".
Breastfeeding protects against Crohn's disease (intestinal disorder)
Crohn's Disease is a chronic intestinal disorder. It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation extending into the deeper layers of the intestinal wall. It is difficult to treat, but several studies have shown that breastfeeding may help babies avoid developing the disease in later life.
Formula feeding increases risk of children developing diabetes
There are many studies linking development of insulin dependant Type I diabetes (formerly referred to as "juvenile diabetes") to lack of breastfeeding. The results of a study from Finland suggest that the introduction of dairy products at an early age, and high milk consumption during childhood increase the level of cow's milk antibodies in the children's systems. This factor is associated with an increased risk of insulin dependent diabetes. Now a new study has indicated that breastfeeding in infancy may help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. This sort of diabetes was formerly referred to as "adult onset" diabetes, but has been mysteriously occurring in more and more youngsters.
Breastfeeding baby helps decrease insulin requirements in diabetic mothers
Reduction in insulin dose postpartum was significantly greater in those who were breastfeeding than those who were bottle feeding
Baby's suckling helps prevent post-partum hemorrhage in mother
Nursing her baby causes the mother's body to release oxytocin, which stimulates contractions which help shrink the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size while expelling the placenta. These contractions also shut off the maternal blood vessels that formerly fed the baby and discourage excessive bleeding. Women who choose not to breastfeed must be given synthetic oxytocin to insure against hemorrhaging.
Formula feeding increases chances of baby developing allergies
"Breastfed babies have fewer allergies than artificially fed babies. This is especially important if your family has a history of allergies. Many babies are allergic to cow's milk formulas. Some babies are even allergic to soy formulas. Breastfeeding protects against other allergies, such as atopic eczema, food allergies, and respiratory allergies."
Breast milk lowers risk of baby developing asthma
A number of studies have linked lack of breastfeeding to asthma. According to one study, six year old children were more likely to have asthma if they had not been exclusively breastfed for at least 4 months.
Formula feeding increases baby's risk of otitis media (ear infections)
Research has shown that ear infections are up to 3-4 times more prevalent in formula-fed infants.
Formula feeding may increase risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Sadly, as of now, researchers have not yet discovered any one factor to account for SIDS. However, there are a number of studies showing a possible link between lack of breastfeeding and SIDS. A Swedish study has found that babies who were breastfed exclusively for less than 8 weeks had a 3 - 5 times greater risk of dying from SIDS than babies who were breastfed exclusively for four months
Formula fed babies have a higher risk of developing certain childhood cancers
In a study done by researchers at the University of Minnesota it was found that babies who were breast fed for at least one month had a 21% less chance of getting leukemia than formula fed babies. The risk was 30% for children breast fed for 6 months.
Breastfeeding decreases chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis
Recent results from a Swedish study indicate that breastfed babies were less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis as adults. An earlier University of North Carolina/Duke University study had indicated breastfed children were only 40% as likely to develop juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Breast milk aids in proper intestinal development
The gastrointestinal system of a newborn baby is not yet mature. It is still permeable, allowing bacteria, viruses and toxins to pass through. This intestinal permeability decreases more slowly in formula-fed babies. According to Dr. Jack Newman "...certain hormones in milk (such as cortisol) and smaller proteins (including epidermal growth factor, nerve growth factor, insulin-like growth factor and somatomedin C) act to close up the leaky mucosal lining of the newborn, making it relatively impermeable to unwanted pathogens and other potentially harmful agents. Indeed, animal studies have demonstrated that postnatal development of the intestine occurs faster in animals fed their mother's milk. And animals that also receive colostrum, containing the highest concentrations of epidermal growth factor, mature even more rapidly."
Formula-fed babies are more at risk for obesity in later life
A study of 32200 Scottish 3 year old children found that the incidence of obesity was significantly lower among those who had been breastfed, after adjusting for socioeconomic status, birthweight and gender. Another study, this one of Czech children, found that the even older children (6 -14) who had been breastfed were less at risk for overweight/obesity. Additionally, a German study found that 4.5% of formula fed children are obese, while only 0.8% of breastfed children have this condition
Breastfeeding results in less sick days for parents
Since breastfed babies are statistically healthier than their formula fed peers, the parents of breastfed babies spend less time out of work taking care of sick children.
Breastfeeding enhances vaccine effectiveness
Breastfed infants showed better serum and secretory responses to oral and parenteral vaccines than those formula-fed.
Breastfed babies have less chance of developing necrotizing enterocolitis
This disease occurs most commonly in premature or sick newborns. In NEC the lining of the intestinal wall dies and sloughs off. Premature infants fed their own mother's milk or banked human milk are one sixth to one tenth as likely to develop NEC. One Australian study has estimated that 83% of NEC cases may be attributed to lack of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding contributes to optimal child spacing
First of all, please know that it is certainly possible to get pregnant while you are still breastfeeding. However, many breastfeeding women do not ovulate for the first 6 months or so following the birth of a new baby. This is true only for those who are exclusively breastfeeding (no supplements or solid food), and have not yet gotten their periods back following childbirth. Night nursing encourages longer amenorrhoea (periodlessness). If you really don't want to get pregnant again, use some back up birth control even if you haven't gotten your period again. Unless you are carefully following a natural family planning program, you will have no way of knowing when your first ovulation will occur, and by the time you figure it out you may be expecting! Still, generally speaking, breastfeeding contributes to optimum child spacing.
Breastfeeding is easier than using formula
After the initial start up period, breastfeeding is very easy. All you have to do is raise your shirt and let the little one latch on. No shopping for formula, bottles, and other supplies. No mixing, heating, refrigerating and cleaning up of formula. If you sleep with your baby, or sleep the baby next to your bed, you can forget about all the disturbing nighttime rituals associated with formula use. All you have to do is roll over, let the baby latch on, and go back to sleep!
Breast milk is free
Any way you look at it, you'll spend a lot more money if you choose to formula feed. The added calories a nursing mother must take in are a negligible expense, and nursing clothes are optional. If you need to pump, excellent pumps are available for between $50 and $225. A good pump can be used for more than one child, so they are really an investment. Do be sure to buy a pump manufactured by a company specializing in their manufacture. Beware of pumps made by formula companies. Many woman report these pumps to be inefficient at best, and painful at worst.
Formula is expensive
It presently costs upward of $1,200 dollars per year to formula feed an infant in the United States. If you factor in the added medical cost you are statistically likely to incur, that brings the cost up to around $2,500 per year. If your baby happens to require a hypo-allergenic formula, you will have to pay considerably more
Breast milk always has the right proportions of fat, carbohydrates and protein
Formula companies are constantly adjusting these proportions looking for the best composition. The reality is that a mother's milk composition changes from feeding to feeding depending on the needs of her child. No formula can do that! According to the American Dietetic Association "human milk provides optimal nutrition to the infant with its dynamic composition and the appropriate balance of nutrients provided in easily digestible and bioavailable forms."
Breast milk acts like a natural tranquilizer for baby
Mother's milk contains chemicals that seem to work like "knock-out drops" for tired babies. Even if baby doesn't fall asleep, he/she will certainly calm down and become more agreeable. If you choose to breastfeed into toddlerhood, you may find that the "terrible twos" never materialize.
Breastfeeding acts like a natural tranquilizer for mom
Nursing mothers often joke about falling asleep on the job. The sleep inducing qualities of nursing a baby are remarkable. In fact, some new mothers have to be careful to hold a nursing baby in such a way that they will not drop the child when they inevitably nod off. Nursing in bed is a great solution. Even pumping at work can be a great way to calm down and get refocused during a stressful day. All this relaxation is caused by the hormone oxytocin, which is released each time a mother breastfeeds. It decreases blood pressure and calms the mother. Interestingly, one study found that there were far fewer incidences of domestic violence and sexual abuse in breastfeeding families
Breast milk tastes better than formula
Human breast milk is sweet and light. Formula is pasty and bland. Which would you rather eat?
Breastfed babies are less likely to die before their third birthday
Not only are breastfed babies less likely to contract life-threatening diseases, they are better able to combat any illnesses that may develop.
Van Den Bogaard, C. "Relationship Between Breast Feeding in Early Childhood and Morbidity in a general Population."Fan Med, 1991; 23:510-515
Breast milk is always the right temperature
Severe burns to babies' mouths have occurred due to improper heating of artificial milks. Even when it's done correctly, it's never fun to try to warm a bottle for a fussing baby
Fewer waste packaging products
No wrappers, canisters, disposable bottles etc...
"If every child in America were bottle-fed, almost 86,000 tons of tin would be needed to produce 550 million cans for one year's worth of formula. If every mother in Great Britain breastfed, 3000 tons of paper (used for formula labels) would be saved in a year. But formula is not the only problem. Bottles and nipples require plastic, glass, rubber, and silicon; production of these materials can be resource-intensive and often leads to end-products that are not-recyclable. All these products use natural resources, cause pollution in their manufacture and distribution and create trash in their packaging, promotion, and disposal."
No bottles to tote
Unless you're pumping and transporting the milk for later. Even then there are fewer bottles to deal with.
Breastfeeding may lower the risk of developing high cholesterol
A recent British study found that breastfeeding seems to be associated with lower levels of damaging cholesterol in adulthood. The authors concluded that breastfeeding may have long-term benefits for cardiovascular health.
No need to refrigerate
Of course, breast milk stays fresh because it's made on demand. Even pumped breast milk keeps for a long time outside of the fridge.
Cow's milk is designed for baby cows, while human milk is designed for human babies
Human milk contains completely different proportions of protein, fat, carbohydrates. Cows milk is designed to help put on weight quickly, grow amazingly fast, and develop only as much brain power as a cow needs. After all, a calf is able to stand and walk on the day it is born. The natural hormones in cows milk are geared toward cows, not humans. The fact that human beings can even partially digest the milk of another species in sort of amazing when you stop to think about it. Human milk is designed for baby humans. It's designed to build brains, and to foster gradual physical growth
Breast milk aids in the proper development of a baby's gastrointestinal tract
"The cells of the mature intestinal lining are tightly packed together so that potential allergens cannot seep through into the bloodstream. But in the early months, the lining of a baby's immature intestines is more like a sieve, allowing potential allergens to get through, which sets the infant…up for allergies and infections. Breast milk contains a special protein called imunoglobulin A (IgA), which acts like a protective sealant in the digestive tract…Breast milk also contains a special substance called epidermal growth factor (EGF), which promotes the growth of the cells lining baby's intestines as well as other surface cells, such as the cells of the skin."
Breast milk provides natural pain relief for baby
Breast milk actually contains chemicals that suppress pain (endorphins). Aside from this, the comfort a baby derives from being held close and suckling is remarkable. Many a bruise or scrape has been soothed away almost instantly by a few moments of nursing. If you choose to have your child vaccinated, it is a good idea to nurse immediately after he/she receives a vaccination. This soothes the hurt, as well as enhancing the vaccine's effectiveness.
Human milk is the perfect food for a sick infant
When a formula fed baby gets a gastrointestinal ailment they are usually put on an artificial electrolyte solution because formula is too hard for them to digest. Breast milk, however, is easily digested, and soothing to the intestines, so there is no need for artificial and expensive electrolyte solutions. If a baby gets a respiratory illness, formula may cause even more mucus. In contrast, breast milk contains antibodies to these ailments, as well as being highly digestible and not contributing to excess mucous formation.
A breastfeeding Mom gets more sleep
Especially if she sleeps with baby, but even if she doesn't. No bottles to prepare and warm. Less time comforting a crying baby suffering from gas and allergies.
Babies that nurse are happier at night
A baby that gets its night time needs met quickly is more likely to get right back to sleep than a baby who has to wait for a bottle while crying and swallowing air.
More sleep for dad
Again, even if he helps with baby burping, diapering, and baby toting, there are no bottles to deal with. Also, breastfed babies tend to need much less burping after the first few months.
Less equipment to maintain and store
Those bottles, measuring devices, sterilizing equipment and other gadgets take up shelf space and they all require cleaning.
Less equipment to buy
Unless you pump. Even if you do have to buy a pump and the basic bottle kit, the savings in cost of formula and additional medical attention make breastfeeding financially well worth trying.
Breastmilk has never been recalled due to manufacturing problems
Formula has been, sometimes after causing injury or death. There were 22 "significant" recalls of formula including 7 potentially life threatening situations.
Babbit, V, "FDA Recalls Baby Formula, 1998", Breastfeeding.com, Inc.
Fresh breast milk is never contaminated with bacteria
In fact, it has antibacterial properties.
No need to worry about which brand is better
Each artificial breast milk formula is different from all its competitors, but none of them come close to duplicating the real thing. It can be very stressful for formula feeding mothers to try to determine which brand is the best of the lot. No matter which formula is used "it is increasingly apparent that infant formula can never duplicate human milk. Human milk contains living cells, hormones, active enzymes, immunoglobulins and compounds with unique structures that cannot be replicated in infant formula."
No need to worry about adding contaminated water
Even in regions of the world where bacterial contamination is not an issue, water can contain dangerous elements like arsenic, lead and aluminum. These contaminants can become concentrated if water is boiled to sterilize it before being added to formula.
Breastfed babies get fewer stomach infections
According to a study of 17,046 mother and infant pairs in Belarus, breastfed infants had a significant reduction in risk of gastro-intestinal infection
Facilitates proper dental and jaw development
Nursing is good for a baby's tooth and jaw development. Babies drinking from the human breast have to use as much as 60 times more energy to get food than do those drinking from a bottle. Obviously, a nursing baby's jaws are receiving much more exercise as she pulls her mother's milk into her mouth. Apparently, this constant gentle pulling assists the growth of well-formed jaws and straight, healthy teeth. Among breastfed infants, the longer the duration of nursing, the less chance of dental malocclusion.
Breastfed babies have less tooth decay
Breast milk contains bacteria fighting cells that may help kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Furthermore, bottle-fed babies "are at increased risk for baby bottle caries, a destructive dental condition which occurs when a baby is put to bed with a bottle containing formula, milk, juice or other fluids high in carbohydrates. Extensive dental repair may be required at a cost of thousands of dollars." Furthermore, breast milk contains bacteria fighting cells that may help kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Less money spent on corrective orthodontia
The longer you breastfeed, the more likely the babies teeth will come in properly. If the teeth come in straight, there's no need to fix them.
Better speech development
Tongue thrust problems often develop among bottle-fed babies as they try to slow down the flow of milk coming from an artificial nipple. This can lead to speech problems later on. "Early weaning may lead to the interruption of proper oral motor development provoking alterations to the posture and strength of the speech organs and harming the functions of chewing, swallowing, breathing, and articulation of speech sounds. The lack of physiological sucking on the breast may interfere in the oral motor development, possibly causing malocclusion, oral respiration and oral motor disorders."
Less chance of baby getting eczema
A number of studies have indicated that breastfed babies are less likely to develop eczema - an itchy skin rash
Breastfed babies have great skin
You don't have to refer to the many studies showing that breastfed babies have less eczema and fewer rashes. Check out the skin of a breastfed baby and see what you think.
Breastfed newborns demonstrate gastroesophageal reflux (spit-up) episodes of significantly shorter duration that formula fed newborns
Breastfeeding is better for premature infants
A recent Israeli study confirmed that the more breast milk premature babies receive, the more responsive they are. Infants receiving substantial amounts of breast milk showed better neurobehavioral profiles - in particular motor maturity. "These infants were also more alert during social interactions, and their mothers provided more affectionate touch. In addition to its nutritional value, breast milk may be related to improved maternal mood and interactive behaviors, thereby indirectly contributing to development in premature infants."
Better social development
The psychomotor and social development of breastfed babies clearly differs from that of bottle fed ones and leads at the age of 12 months to significant advantages of the psychomotor and social capabilities.
Baumgartner, C.,"Psychomotor and Social Development of Breast Fed and Bottle Fed babies During their First year of Life". Acta Paediatrica Hungarica, 1984
It's what breasts were designed for!
(*I had to cut it short for this pasted version...)